HRL composes ELGAR to improve G-band electronics
HRL Laboratories has received a $9.36 million contract from DARPA to work on the Electronics for G-band Arrays (ELGAR) programme.
ELGAR seeks to develop the integration technologies needed to create compact, high-performance RF electronics, including monolithic microwave/millimetre-wave integrated circuits and transmit and receive array front-end test articles, to enable communication and sensing systems at G-band frequencies.
Work is expected to be completed by January 2024.
In its original Broad Agency Announcement document, published in September 2021, DARPA noted a ‘growing, insatiable thirst for information’ in the commercial and defence communications sector, with a drive towards ‘increasingly higher data rates and wider bandwidths of operation’.
As a result, higher operating frequencies are required to support larger bandwidths (such as 5G and 6G telecommunications).
The upper millimetre-wave band, known as G-band (110GHz to 300GHz), represents an ‘attractive, underutilised portion of the EM spectrum for high data rate communications applications’, DARPA noted, adding that the G-band above 200GHz is ‘particularly appealing’ for military communications given its low level of atmospheric interference.
However, adequate RF electronics have not yet been developed to support operation in this frequency band, particularly for SWaP-constrained applications.
In particular, the efficiency of G-band electronics is poor ‘and must be addressed to make G-band systems viable’, DARPA noted.
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